On the evening of 22 November I went to Staple Inn Hall, just south of High Holborn. It is the attractive Hall of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries.
For more details about the Company go to http://www.actuariescompany.co.uk/ The Actuaries are entirely composed of those who are associates or fellows of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and collectively represent a highly important profession within the business City.
The purpose of the evening was to hear Lord Phillips of Worth Maltravers, President of the Supreme Court, give a talk on the development of the Supreme Court.
I went for two reasons.
The first that Lord Phillips is always an interesting and engaging speaker and he was talking on a very interesting subject. The Supreme Court (see www.supremecourt.gov.uk/ ) came into being just over a year ago. It is a fundamental change in the top structure of our legal system, the full implications of which, I am certain, are not yet fully understood.
The second is that Lord Phillips is a Liveryman of the Drapers' Company. In common with many senior judges this is because the Master of the Rolls - he held this appointment 2000-2005 - is also President of Queen Elizabeth College, the Company's almshouse in Greenwich. This is a linkage that goes back to the wishes of William Lambarde (see page), the founder of the almshouse in the late sixteenth century. It remains an unbroken tradition to this day and Masters of the Rolls have in living memory always accepted the invitation to become members of the Company.
After a short introduction by Graham Clay, the Master Actuary, Lord Phillips reviewed the somewhat confusing genesis of the Supreme Court and the way in which had started operating. I will not even attempt to summarise Lord Phillips' very concise and cogent arguments, except to say that his tone was optimistic and it was clear that the new Supreme Court had started well.
All-in-all we were generously entertained by the Actuaries and heard a really worthwhile talk from the President of the Supreme Court that certainly left me considerably better informed.